A recent study titled “An Evaluation of Patients’ Knowledge About Perioperative Information for Third Molar Removal,” appears in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (vol. 70, pages 12 – 18, 2012).
The study attempts to look at what patients know about third molar (wisdom teeth) removal before having surgery performed. The study was conducted by authors in Brazil and Kentucky (United States).
The study explains on being nervous and anxious before having wisdom teeth removed can actually cause a longer surgery, more potential swelling, and even more pain.
Hence there is incentive for the surgeon and the surgical team to help produce a calming environment for patients to help reduce anxiety which can lead to potentially better outcomes.
The study had 67 patients which included 43 female and 24 males who had 1 or more wisdom tooth removed. The patients presented to an ambulatory environment between August 2009 and April 2010 in Brazil. One surgeon interviewed each patient and this surgeon was blinded as in did not know about the patient’s past tooth extraction experience(s).
In this study 25 of the patients had previous tooth extraction experience. Most of the wisdom teeth were extracted for orthodontic reasons. Other reasons for the removal of the wisdom teeth included pericoronitis, pain, difficult to clean, caries (cavities), malocclusion, periodontitis, and in 4% of the cases as a preventative measure.
Discussions in the study mention other studies which discuss how many patients like to have a consultation on a separate day than on the day of the surgery. A trustworthy and professional relationship is important to be formed between patient and doctor.
The study showed that patients who had previous extraction experience showed more interest and knowledge about the possibility of a preoperative medication taken before surgery.
Even so, the study also showed that surgeons should not assume that those who have previous extraction experience have greater knowledge about dental extractions.
The second to last paragraph of the study states:
“Although some referrers may be able to educate the patient, it is the role of the surgeon to educate the patient and to build up a rapport and engender trust at the ﬁrst consultation. The referrers may not give the correct information, leading to a case of mixed messages being given to the patient and adding to the confusion and mistrust.”
The study identified that the 2 areas patients have the most misconceptions about include whether or not a medication should be taken preoperatively and what type of hygiene (cleaning) should be done after surgery.